Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Easy, Healthy Burgers and Sandwiches

Around this time every year, I get spring fever. The snow and cold get painfully old. I can almost smell spring in the air. It's lighter out in the mornings and when I get home from work. I also long for grilling out.

That doesn't mean we can't make and enjoy our favorite 'summery' foods. We did after all get a George Forman as a wedding gift....

Turkey Burgers with Avocado
serves 4

I buy Jennie-O Turkey Burgers
Slice up avocado
Top with pepper jack cheese

served with Alexia Sweet Potato fries and pasta.

Ground Beef Burger with Mushrooms and Zucchini
(note: grass fed beef is better...less hormones)
serves 4

Grill meat
In a pan heat olive oil. Slice up yellow squash, zucchini and mushrooms until soft.
Place on top of burger and on the side
I also paired with Alexia Oven Red's potatoes

Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Sandwich
serves 4
(found in Women's Health - March 2011)

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ( hormones)
4 pineapple slices (1/2-inch thick)
1/4 cup pickled jalapeno slices
Teriyaki sauce
4 slices pepper jack
whole wheat buns

Combine chicken and enough teriyaki sauce to cover it in a resealable plastic bag. Marinate in the fridge for up to 12 hours.

Heat grill. Remove chicken and place on grill (cooking for 4-5 minutes). flip and immediately add cheese to each breast. Continue cooking until cheese is melted and chicken is lightly charred. Removed from grill.

Add pineapple and buns to grill. Cook rolls until lightly toasted and pineapple slices until they're soft and caramelized, about two minutes per side. Top each roll with chicken, pineapple, red onion and jalapeno.

Karl's reaction - "Yum, yum! Just don't give me any jalapenos."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

This is it...don't get scared now....

Drum roll please.....

I did it! I did it! I did it! I sent my first set of query letters for Wanted: Groom for My $100K Wedding out!

Am I panicking? Yes. Am I nervous as hell? Yes. Did I lose a bunch of sleep the past few days? Yes. Do I think I did the best I could? In my mind, yes, but note the emphasis on "in my mind". But as with everything in life, there are plenty of lessons to be learned. If I don't get any bites, then it's time to change up the query letter and see what happens.  

So what's next?
1. Perfecting my 2-3 page synopsis. It's done, but I like perfection...too bad I don't have this same mentality when it comes to cleaning our house.
2. Perfecting my 353-page manuscript for the millionth time. Yes, it's done...but see #1.
3. Continuing researching and querying agents until I'm blue in the face.
4. Updating Ella Dirk's (my main character) Twitter account (@never_says_no) and her Facebook account (Note: I won't be mad if you choose to 'like' it)
5. Waiting and hoping for that one agent phone call/email saying..."We love it! We want more!"
6. Putting tape on my fingers so I can stop the nail-biting madness. Karl now calls them cuticles...not fingernails. I honestly have NO nails. None. Gone. Gross.

So now you know where I've been hiding, that, and I just got back from a wonderful Mexico trip with my in-laws (I'm still working on a way I can thank them...any ideas would be appreciated). And there will be more to come on my thoughts on Mexico in my next Strib blog since I had such a bad experience there ten years ago and whined about it in a post on Blogger. You'll be happy to know that Mexico and I are back together. 

Please send all the good vibes you can my way. I'll be here living in my fantasy bubble and dreaming big things!

A quote from the calendar on my desk that made me smile:

Every person's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers.
- Hans Christian Andersen

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Looking for Something Sweet for your Sweetheart?

We both liked this quick, easy and fancy looking dessert. It has a different texture but there's something about it.

Warm Pear with Cinnamon Ricotta
2 servings
(recipe found in Health January/February 2011)

Preheat broiler or toaster over. Halve and core 1 pear; place on a baking sheet. Broil until tender (10-12 minutes). In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Top warm pear with ricotta mixture.

Karl's reaction: "Whoa...the pear is warm! I thought it was some brown looking pear. This is good. Ohhh, I like it. Yum, babe."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

BBQ Pulled Pork

Starting off on a negative note: Chicago Bears aren't in it the Super Bowl this year and this bums me out (thought I'd throw that in). On a positive note: some tasty BBQ pulled pork needs to be made!

This is so easy, I can't even tell you...

Barbecued Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Makes 8 servings
(Found in Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Best-Loved Recipes)

1 pork shoulder roast (about 2.5 lbs)
1 bottle (14 ounces) BBQ sauce - I love Famous Dave's Rich and Sassy
1 TBS fresh lemon juice (I use about two lemons cuz I loooove lemon)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 medium onion, chopped
8 hamburger buns (whole wheat)

1. Place roast in Crock-Pot slow cooker. Cover; cook on LOW 10 to 12 hours or on HIGH 5 to 6 hours.
2. Remove roast from Crock; discard cooking liquid. Shred pork with two forks. Return back to Crock. Add BBQ sauce, lemon juice, brown sugar and onion. Cover, cook on HIGH 1 hour or on LOW 2 hours. Serve shredded pork on bun.

SOOOOO good.

Karl's opinion: "This is my favorite of all time!"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Energy Booster Dinner Alert

This is another fast, easy and really healthy meal. I went a weee bit overboard with the brussels sprouts, but the meat was super tender.

Mustard-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin with Brussels Sprout Ragout
serves 4
(recipe found in Fitness Magazine January 2011)

10 ounces brussels sprouts, quartered
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large pork tenderloin (about 1 1/4 pounds). butterflied
2 TBS Dijon mustard
2 TBS olive oil
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C chicken broth
1/2 C diced bacon
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/4 dried cherries
1 TBS chopped sage leaves
I added tomatoes...

1. In a medium pot fitted with a steamer, steam brussels sprouts 8 minutes.
2. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp each salt and black pepper on pork and then spread with mustard. In a 12-inch skillet, warm one TBS olive oil over medium-high heat; add pork and cook 7 minutes. Turn and cook 6 minutes more; remove from pan and slice. Add wine and chicken broth to pan and stir, scraping up brown bits; set aside and keep warm.
3. Warm remaining olive oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and saute until brown, stirring occasionally about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add onion; cook until translucent, 5 minutes. Add cherries, sage and brussels sprouts; cook 3 minutes more. Season with remaining salt and black pepper.
4. On a platter, arrange pork and vegetables; drizzle with sauce. Serve.

Karl's response: "This meat is crazy tender. Whoa...whoa...whoa...what's all that green stuff?"

In a Funk? - Latest Star Trib Blog

I'm getting back into the swing of things and am posting my latest Star Tribune blog on getting out of a funk! I sure was in one! Thanks for checking it out!